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Wait Until Next Owners

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 8, 2007 2:09PM

2007_10_sports_cubs_nlds3.jpgWell, that didn't take long, did it? The Arizona Diamondbacks finished off the Cubs 5-1 on Saturday, sweeping the NLDS ... and delaying a Cubs World Series at least another year.

Those of us familiar with the Cubs knew what to expect from Game Three as a soon as Rich Hill's very first pitch to Chris Young ended up in the left-field bleachers. Hill was lucky to escape the inning down only 2-0, and he lasted only three innings before yielding to the bullpen.

Not that it would have much mattered if Hill had pitched any better when the Cubs' offense again failed to show. The line-up scored a lone run on seven hits.

For the series, the Cubs hit an anemic .194 and managed just six runs in three games. Their two most expensive sluggers led the team in futility, with Alfonso Soriano just 2-for-14 and Aramis Ramirez going a perfect 0-for-12. Given the big contracts those two signed during the offseason, that works out to over $105 million a hit.

The one guy on the Cubs roster who proved he deserved his big deal during the playoff series was Carlos Zambrano, but Lou Piniella's premature call to the 'pen may have cost the Cubs their best shot at winning a game. Bet you're pleased about Z's well-rested arm now, aren't you, Lou?

With the hopes and dreams of Cubs players and fans dashed once again, the end of the Tribune era ends without a World Series. When the newspaper bought the team from the Wrigley family in 1981, the fans hoped the deep corporate pockets would help the Cubs return to the Series. But 26 years of ownership did nothing to dispel the "lovable losers" reputation.

With their season over, expect the bidding for the Cubs to accelerate. Chicagoist has covered the interested parties since before the Cubs were officially on the block. Who will win the bidding war for the team? Depends on who ultimately gets to call the shots — the Tribune Co. or Bud Selig. It will also depend on what are the most important criteria — highest sale price, best steward of the team, Chicago connections, etc. Can whoever wins the Cubs sweepstakes do what the Tribune Co. couldn't? Or what the Wrigley family couldn't? Can anybody ever get the Cubs back into the World Series?

Images by AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh.